Over the years, I've moved almost too many times to count. Twice, for stints out of state, but mostly around the town where I grew up. The reasons varied, but most moves were due to increase or decrease in income, increase and decrease of family size, divorce, you name it. In all of this, there is one theme that has not changed ---> new faces, new friends, who become old faces and old friends. I have taken people with me from all neighborhoods I've inhabited, choosing to keep them along for this journey of life. I'm still in touch with almost all of the neighborhood "kids" I grew up with, many of them are still in the area and those that aren't, visit when they come "home". It doesn't matter where we landed in life, we made each other what we are and we still know and acknowledge that. I was once described by a teacher as "a collector of people", it was one of the few traits that my mother threw up to my oldest, most perfect sister, that I had so many friends I'd never be bored or alone. And my friends always varied more that most, as far as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc., I always loved the spectrum, loved getting to know the people behind the labels.
Anyway, I've retained friends from every neighborhood I've occupied in the length of my existence, all moving in different directions, but remaining in touch and easily reconnecting even after years of time and distance. One particular neighborhood is where my children became aware of life, when they were old enough to venture outside and retain friends of their own, who had parents that also became family friends. We all went our separate ways and stayed in touch over the years, visits from other states, phone calls on the occasion of milestone birthdays, births and deaths in the families. There were four of us who all had children the same age and were "stay at home Moms" for a span of about three years, so we spent days "after the school bus left" shopping, going to garage sales, drinking coffee, watching each others' children and just enjoying life together.
One spring morning, I got a frantic call from one of my neighbors, begging for me to come and "HELP!"! I bolted out the door without asking questions and when I burst through her door, she had a shoe in hand and the wall in her family room was moving! It seems the previous evening, her son found some cool "pods" stuck in the bushes. He pulled a couple out and asked his mother if he could take them to school the next day to ask the teacher what they were. She told him that was find and he put them on the coffee table so he wouldn't forget them. When she came downstairs the next morning, she noticed "movement" and found herself in a living nightmare! It turns out that the "pods" were praying mantis egg sacs that hatched overnight and she had about a gazillion teensy, tiny perfect replicas of their parents, but brown, crawling on every wall, every piece of furniture the floor, absolutely everywhere! She was crying, swatting, saying "You're not supposed to kill these things, but WHAT ELSE CAN I DO????!!!!!" I don't think I've ever laughed that hard, that early in the morning, before or since!
We had coffee last week and we laughed again, harder than ever, reliving those days when life was so busy, fun, hard. And I won't even get into her mentioning the time I fell out of the booth at a local restaurant!
Fun times, good friends, good memories and hearts we retain through it all.
Happy Holidays to all, cherish your memories, but don't forget to make new ones!